Rajpath, the King’s Path which was a symbol of India’s slavery has become history from today. This inglorious slavery symbol has been erased forever. A new history has been created in the form of Kartavya Path,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Thursday evening while inaugurating the Kartavya Path (the revamped Central Vista Avenue) at the India Gate. He also congratulated the nation “for their freedom from yet another symbol of slavery of the British Raj”. Interestingly, it was the same day that Queen Elizabeth II the British Monarch died that India abolished this symbol of slavery where King George V’s statue gave way to a Subhas Chandra Bose statue.
“Gulaami ka prateek Kingsway, yaani Rajpath, aaj se itihaas ki baat ho gaya hai, hamesha ke liye mit gaya hai,” he said. Referring to the statue of King George V, which once adorned the Grand Canopy, where a 28-feet statue of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose was unveiled today, the Prime Minister said, “At the time of slavery, there was a statue of the representative of the British Raj. Today, the country has also brought to life a modern, strong India by establishing the statue of Netaji at the same place.” ”Netaji’s statue coming up at the spot where King George’s statue once stood, is like ‘Praan Pratishtha’ of a new India,” he remarked.
We can now leave the past behind and fill new colours in the present,” PM Modi remarked on the occasion, which was attended by 1,500 people, including a host of union ministers, artists, diplomats, MPs and several state chief ministers, including Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Manipur CM N Biren Singh. Interestingly, opposition leaders and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal were conspicuous by their absence. Rahul Gandhi is busy with his Bharat Jodo Yatra and did not attend this Delhi event.
Earlier in the day, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee said she won’t be attending the inauguration ceremony of a Netaji statue in Delhi as she did not receive a “proper” invitation. “I received a letter from an undersecretary stating that the PM will inaugurate the statue today and you will be there before the event commences. Am I their bonded labour?”, said Banerjee while addressing a rally in Kolkata. PM Modi said Congress had forgotten Netaji Bose after Independence. He said, “Bose had a vision, he was brave. He used to say, India is not a country that will forget its proud history. The history of the country is in the blood of every Indian.” He added, ”Netaji’s statue at the Kartavya Path will become a source of inspiration”.
Modi said that India is now moving beyond the mentality of colonialism. He mentioned the renaming of the Andaman Islands after Netaji Bose and also renaming the Race Course Road as Lok Kalyan Marg. “The Indian Navy has also adopted Chhatrapati Shivaji’s symbol and shed the symbol of gulaami. These changes are not limited to symbols. These changes are a part of the country’s foundations,” he said, adding, “If India had walked the path shown by Netaji after the independence, it would have been a different story. But India forgot its hero.”
The Prime Minister said that these changes are not confined to the symbols but have also infused the policies of the country too. “Today, the country has changed hundreds of laws that have been going on since the British era. The time and date of the Indian Budget, which was following the times of the British Parliament for so many decades, have also been changed. Through the National Education Policy, now the youth of the country are being liberated from the compulsion of foreign language,” he pointed out.
The PM also highlighted that the Kartavya Path is not just a path of bricks and stones, “when people come here, Netaji’s statue, the National War Memorial will inspire people.” He added, “Today not only the architecture but also the soul of Rajpath has changed. When ministers and officials cross the Kartavya path, they will be reminded of their duty towards the nation.”
PM Modi met the workers who built Central Vista Avenue and the artisans who were involved in sculpting the Bose statue. He announced that the shramjeevis who worked on the redevelopment project of Central Vista and their families will be his special guests for the next Republic Day parade in January 2023. For the next three days, a drone show will be held based on the life of Netaji.